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PCB can be found in some form inside all of our electronic devices. Despite our best efforts, these devices can get wet. Whether is if from spills to the occasional dunk in the sink, the outside casing is not the only part of the machine that can be affected. If water or any other liquid gets inside the device, it can reach the circuit boards and cause the device to stop working. Cleaning the board can sometimes restore functionality once the board is dry.

What type of water exposure will ruin my equipment? – Not all moisture exposure is the same. Circuit board damage can occur even from small amounts of moisture. This includes whether the electronics are splashed or spilled on, fully submerged, or even just exposed to high humidity.

A good professional cleaning may save these water damaged circuit boards. But, be warned, problems may surface later due to tiny bits of corrosion.  The longer electronics are exposed to contaminants, inviting overheating and corrosion. These boards may be saved by a good cleaning. 

How to deal with water damage of PCB?

Unplug the electronic device immediately after the spill. Any sort of liquid can potentially cause a shock when combined with electric current. Protect yourself by removing any source of power to a wet device.

Disassemble the device to expose the circuit board. Take the device apart carefully, according to its directions. You want to put it back together afterward, so the outer parts should stay intact.

Soak up any remaining liquid with a lint-free cloth. Do not use paper products, since these could leave lint or scratch the board. Do not rub any cloth on the circuit board, since this could scratch or dislodge the parts. Place the cloth over the board and press gently. This will soak up the liquid.

Remove the worst of any remaining particles by brushing with a toothbrush. This includes any globs of dried liquid. It does not need to be perfect at this stage. Remove any dust or loose pieces of dried liquid by spraying compressed air. Spray in one direction in quick bursts, since the canister can become extremely cold if used for longer sprays.

Rinse the circuit board with clean or distilled water to remove any sticky materials. If your circuit board was wet by clean water and you did not have to remove dried materials, you may be able to skip this. Pat the board gently with a cloth to remove the majority of the moisture and allow it to dry completely.

Clean any residue off the circuit board using a cotton swab. Moisten the cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol. Do not use a dripping wet swab. Swab gently in stubborn areas and be careful not to upset the components. The alcohol should take care of most of the work without rubbing.

How to clean PCB after water damage?

PCBs may be affected by various contaminants during the uses of the common equipments sunch as smart phones and microwave ovens. There is an increasing need for services to clean PCBs that have been corrupted by contaminants but not actually physically broken.

Cleaning printed circuit boards is a very delicate process. When you are working with a printed circuit board, you are dealing with a variety of exposed components and connections that can easily be damaged if you attempt to clean the board improperly. How you will approach cleaning your printed circuit board will depend in large part on the types of contaminants you are dealing with.

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